WAN Optimization: What is it and What are the Benefits?

Written by Danny Mareco Danny Mareco | July 12, 2012 | Read Time: 3 mins

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What is WAN Optimization?

Wide-area network (WAN) optimization is a collection of technologies and techniques used to amplify efficiency of data-transfer across the WAN. WAN optimization is an important part of network management, because it allows you to prioritize traffic and guarantee a certain amount of available bandwidth for the most critical applications. Some of the specific technologies used in WAN optimization include:

  • Traffic shaping, in which traffic is prioritized and bandwidth is allocated accordingly.
  • Elimination of redundant data, also known as data deduplication, which reduces the data that must be sent across a WAN by sending references instead of the actual data.
  • Data compression, which contracts the size of data to limit bandwidth usage.
  • Data caching, which is where repeatedly used data is hosted locally or on a local server for faster access.
  • Streamlining data protocols, which bundles multiple requests from chatty applications into one.
  • Manage bandwidth or quality of service, put limits on how much bandwidth certain kinds of resource-hogging applications can monopolize.

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Why is WAN Optimization Important?

As the WAN develops, with advances in applications, cloud computing, and other technologies, WAN optimization has become even more essential. These major trends are driving more and more traffic over the WAN which will have a major impact specifically on the performance of business-critical applications that cross the WAN. The WAN's inherent latency issues and the cost of network bandwidth are major issues for businesses right now. The two ways to address this need for greater bandwidth are to purchase more or use what you already have more effectively through WAN optimization.

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What Benefits Does WAN Optimization Offer?

  1. Quicker file accessibility: Due to caching, someone that utilizes the same files repeatedly will be able to access them more quickly because only new data must be saved and retrieved, rather than having to reload the full document.
  2. Enables mobile workers and remote locations: You can eliminate the effect of distance between branch offices, mobile workers, and business headquarters with WAN optimization. It can maximize network speed between distant locations by allowing you to quickly transfer data and complete transactions accelerating network-based communications such as e-mail.
  3. Improved performance: Applications that are not directly affected by optimization run more smoothly or faster because bandwidth previously used for other processes can now be dedicated to the most critical applications.
  4. More reliable and faster data recovery: WAN optimization makes remote backup of data easier, which is essential for disaster recovery. Also, WAN optimization's ability to increase network response time capabilities enables users to rapidly regain access to critical applications after a crash.
  5. Increased efficiency: You can alleviate the effects of latency with protocol optimizations that maximize bandwidth utilization and relieve network congestion.
  6. Cost savings: WAN optimization allows application consolidation that can drastically reduce the cost of equipment and software a company needs. Also, through bandwidth management, caching, compression, and protocol optimization it significantly minimizes the bandwidth expenses.

In Conclusion

For many companies, WAN optimization can bring significant improvements to business operations. Now that you have a little more information on how to maximize your IT infrastructure performance with WAN optimization, I hope you will take my recommendation on incorporating WAN optimization into your enterprise wireless network solution. If you need help figuring out the details or have any questions, feel free to contact us here. At SecurEdge, we are experts in building completely secure wireless networks. We incorporate the latest in next generation security and WAN performance management tools for complete WAN optimization. We also have some free resources on our site we hope you find them useful. Good luck!

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